Technology plays a major role in many aspects of our daily lives, so it’s no surprise that an increasing number of people are going back to school to get their DIT (Doctor of Information Technology). A DIT helps lay the foundation to be a strong candidate for positions like CEO and CIO at some of the biggest tech companies — but graduates aren’t limited to working in the technology sector. The skills learned in these programs arm graduates with the skills to start their own companies in a variety of fields — even the arts.

Of course, a large number of people who earn their DIT do continue on to work in the technology sector, and many are simply advancing a career path they’ve already begun. “Most people in the DIT program are already employed,” says Patrick Offor, an associate faculty member at the City University of Seattle’s School of Technology and Computing. “They’re just trying to advance their career and change jobs or find a higher-paying job.”

City University’s DIT program has three tracks to choose from: Computer science; cybersecurity; and data science. The common thread of these three tracks is preparing students for leadership positions. Offor explains that a DIT degree is the final step in what he refers to as the “what, how and why.” A BA degree provides an overview of different concepts like network security and the fundamentals of a firewall. Next, an MA begins to teach the student the how of these concepts. “Students will be exposed to how to make a case for change, how to build road maps, how to build a team, how to propose change,” says Offor. When a person pursues their DIT, the goal is to learn about the why. By the time students enroll in a DIT program, they already have a strong skill set. The focus of these programs is to prepare students to figure out why things are happening the way they happen.

“[The student] is expected to think beyond the present and add to the existing body of knowledge,” Offor explains. “You’re no longer just consuming information; now you’re producing information and ideas.”

Marvin Gold, a DIT student at City University who currently works in the technology field, is focused on the goal of gaining strong leadership skills so he can run IT departments at CEO and CIO level jobs. But his aspirations don’t stop there — Gold is pursuing a “hybrid route” that will allow him to move into a leadership role at his current company and simultaneously work as an industry instructor.

For people with DITs, the most common careers are computer and information research scientist, economist, mathematician or statistician, survey researcher and postsecondary teacher. But as Gold points out, a DIT instills great business and leadership skills that can be applied to a wide variety of careers. DIT graduates are also working at consulting firms, nonprofit organizations and government at the local, state and federal level. Others are starting their own businesses.

“As an entrepreneur you get the strategic planning aspect of owning your own business and you learn how to use IT as a tool, but that doesn’t have to be your entire career,” says Gold. “It puts you in a dominant position for running your own startup. For example, if you’re an artist, this provides a good opportunity for you to design and build your own websites and create a web presence, so not every graduate is necessarily working in the IT field.”

Gold is also a proponent of getting certificates to prove your skill set in a particular area. Undergraduate certificates are part of City U’s 17 new technology programs. As an example of the breadth of career paths available to those who study technology, these certifications are diverse and include certificates in Finance, Human Resource Management, Industrial Arts and Applied Design Instruction, Marketing, and Substance Use Disorder Professional.

Information technology has gone from a niche specialty to a core requirement in many fields. Acquiring the skills and experience to help shape and maintain a company’s data offers a wealth of career options.

City University of Seattle is a private nonprofit university accredited through the doctoral level. It has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Top 50 in the country for its online bachelor’s degree programs for eight consecutive years.